December 5, 2013
December 4, 2013
None of the options we were exploring for further care have panned out. He isn't qualified for an RMI government referral to the Philippines. Uncle could go to an ER in Honolulu but since they don't have family in Hawaii, there would be no way to support Auntie as far as food or a place to stay and there's no way to guarantee that Uncle would receive care beyond a week or two of emergency treatment. We looked into having Auntie and Uncle travel to Iowa to stay with my mother but while that looked like a promising option, the hospital there couldn't guarantee him long-term care until the Affordable Care Act takes effect January first, meaning that he would have to be well enough to fly half-way around the world in 28 days and unfortunately, that doesn't look likely.
Auntie and Uncle have decided to return to Majuro. They have a nice house there and most of their family lives nearby. We don't know when they'll go but it will probably be soon. There aren't words to say how much we are going to miss them. What will do with our Monday afternoons if we're not on Ebeye visiting them? Who will spoil the kids if they're gone? There will be an Auntie-and-Uncle-shaped hole in our lives and our hearts and I think it will be a long time before it starts to heal.
December 3, 2013
The food was delicious, everyone had more than enough, the adults left happy, and the kids left tired, so we'll consider that a successful party!
It was a great party and we definitely want to do it again next year. The only thing that didn't go as planned was that we weren't able to have my niece and nephew over from Ebeye. Because they're minors, they're not allowed on island without an accompanying adult and the officers at the checkpoint knew that Auntie and Uncle (the adult sponsors on their paperwork) were already on island because Uncle is in the hospital and Auntie is on a medical clearance so she can stay with him. We were really looking forward to having them over to the house so they could play with the kids and have a big Thankgiving dinner. I know that these things happen but I feel terrible about it, especially because we were going to take them to see Uncle before the party. The Army has these rules for a reason but I wish, every once in a while, they could bend them.
December 2, 2013
I'm up at 5am again today because I'm worried about Jimma. If you'the praying kind, please pray for him because he's very, very sick. Jimma is the kid's grandpa, Atesh's biological grandfather. David and I call him Uncle and in the last year or so that we've known him and his wife (Bubu, Auntie) we've all become very close.
Theres a lot more to this than i'll share in this post but here's the heart of it: Jimma is in renal failure with a gross fluid overload that his body can't clear because of the renal failure. If Jimma doesnt get on dialysys within a week, he will die. Just typing that, even after having two days to process it, still makes me cry.
So why can't they just put him on dialysis here? The hospital on Kwaj doesn't have a dialysis machine and neither does the one on Ebeye. The Ebeye hospital is so low on medical supplies that they're only really treating the sickest and of those, only the youngest with the best prognosis are being helped. Kwaj's hospital isn't set up to treat people that need the kind of care that Jimma needs- Kwaj is a combination of an emergency room and a regular doctors office. Either way, theres still no dialysis machine. There used to be one at the hospital on Majuro but its been broken for years.
That leaves four options for Jimma: go home to Jesus, without seeking further treatment; go to Majuro for traditional Marshallese medicine (and to be with his family if he did pass away); get a medical referral from the RMI government for treatment in the Phillipines; or go to America for for medical care.
The third option, going to the Phillipines on an RMI medical referral is out. Jimma is too old (he's 55) and diabetic so they won't even consider him for it. Initially, Auntie wanted uncle to go to Majuro, so that they could try trditional medicine and petition the government for a trip to the Phillipines but Uncle has decided that he wants to try and fight, so that leaves America.
And of course, because that's how things go when you need them to easily, we can't just put Auntie and Uncle on a plane to Honolulu. If they went to Honolulu, they could go right into a large hospital and Jimma would be admitted immediatly, but once he moved from needing acute care to the several months of fegular dialysis that he will need, to give his kidneys a chance to recover, they will need a place to live, food, and some way to get to the dialysis center. David and I can buy them plane tickets but we just can't provide everything else that they would need there.
There is one other option for treatment in America, an idea that came to me while I was praying about all this yesterday,and that's to have Uncle and Auntie go to my mother's house in Iowa. She has the space, could reach out to her community for support, and is happy to help. She's looking into area hospitals that would accept a critcally ill patient with no insurance right now. When I presented the idea to Auntie and Uncle, they accepted almost immediatley. It felt like a ray of sunshine was bursting through a terrible storm when I thought we'd finally found a way for Uncle to get the care he needs. Of course, its not that easy. Uncle's passport is expired and Auntie's is at their house on Majuro and is also expired (RMI citizens don't need passports for inter-island travel). A friend put me in touch with the RMI liason here on Kwaj and he said he would be able to expedite the expired passports. Auntie and I are meeting with him this morning about them, but even that might not be enough. The passports would come back on Wednesday (someone would need to get auntie's from the house in Majuro to the passport office) but they would come on the same plane that Auntie, Uncle, and I would be leaving on and we need to be checked in by the time the plane lands, for securty reasons. The next flight out is on Friday but the doctors only gave Uncle a week which means he might not make it through the long trip and if he does, the damage to his kidneys might be so bad they won't start working again, even with dialysis.
I wish I could say I was hopeful for a perfect outcome but I can't. The most I can say is that I'm prayerful and doing everything I can to help someone who has become an intgral part of our family.
November 29, 2013
Ciela: Turkey and family
Me: That we love each other, even when we fight, and for our family
David: A wife that puts up with his crazy ideas, and our children
Teshie: That! (pointing at the pan of cinnamon rolls in the middle of the table)
David smoked 3 racks of ribs and we headed to the beach for dinner- unfortunately the weather (and flies) didn't cooperate and we ended up eating at home but it was still a fun end to a non-traditional Thanksgiving Day. We're having our big Thanksgiving dinner on Monday night- we'll be having 22 people over for dinner! Luckily, half of those are kids under 5. We're having our family over from Ebeye and I'm especially excited for that because I don't think Lomodro and Merline have ever had an American Thanksgiving. I promise, I'll tell you all about it on Tuesday!
2010 (not a Thanksgiving day post but definitely something to give thanks for)
2008 (nothing for 2009 but I was in Antarctica in 2008, and Thanksgivings there are great)
Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! We hope you have a wonderful day, full of family and love!
(Note: here's the link to our Full-House Thanksgiving )
November 27, 2013
I felt kind of bad that the first set of donations from Operation: Science Stuff was more cast-offs from Kwaj but the students were very happy to get the basketballs and volleyballs and the teachers were excited to have the science supplies. They were bowled over when I told them about how the fundraising was going. The students had organized a small presentation and afterward, I got a tour of the science lab.
I wish I'd remembered to take a picture of it for you to see: there was one counter in the biology classroom with two volumetric flasks and one broken microscope. There was a sink but it wasn't hooked up any more. I can't wait to take them the rest of the science supplies and if there's money left over, I think it might be best to donate it to the school to help fix up the lab.
Here are a few photos from that day- more soon!